First Line – Strategic Account Development Programme


Background and Objectives

Phoenix was approached by First Line – a world wide supplier of premium quality automotive components – to design and deliver a development programme for their UK Sales team.  

Given a challenging backdrop of a shrinking customer base within the UK market and increasing downward price pressures, all those involved recognised that it was more important than ever for the sales team to adopt new ways of working and selling.  Through our discussions, we identified the following key outcomes that needed to be achieved on the programme:


Business Goals

  • A consistent and effective approach to national account and territory planning which leads to account retention and sales growth across multiple product lines
  • Closer and slicker collaboration on executing national account plans
  • Increased business acumen that enables the team to see the wider picture, take control of their plans and balance the needs of the business and those of the customer
  • Team members to present themselves with impact and articulate the First Line proposition with real confidence


Programme Format

In order to maximise the impact of the training, we recommended a four-module programme, with each one-day module being delivered every two to three months.  This approach also helped ensure that the learning was applied consistently with plenty of opportunities to put things into practice in between the modules.  

In addition, the programme benefitted from the use of our learning transfer platform – PROMOTE which further helped drive this application and build engagement in the different subjects by ensuring the participants had to complete a range of relevant tasks and activities before and after each module.  

Furthermore, PROMOTE ensured that the UK Sales Director was proactively involved throughout, which made a big difference to the programme’s overall effectiveness.


The Results

We are delighted that the results have been far reaching both in terms of behavioural and business outcomes.  These include:


  • The team now has a more complete understanding of the bigger picture context with a more strategic view of market trends, competitive landscape and customer base.
  • The programme has contributed to a sense of the First Line brand and unique way of working which is helping to differentiate against competitors.
  • The team have adopted a consistent format for their business plans which are now working documents and used more collaboratively. These are directly supporting the team to plan how to win, retain and grow business through the buying groups.
  • The programme supported and facilitated the promotion of 5 team members with associated greater responsibility.
  • Members of the team have reported that the training has helped them to better understand their customers and be more confident in communicating and negotiating, resulting in retaining business that might have been lost, protecting profit margins and winning new order points.
  • Sales meeting presentations have been significantly improved with the result that dialogue and information sharing between senior management and sales team has been much richer and more effective.
  • Individuals are demonstrating more autonomy and are much less reliant on their manager for decisions.
  • They have all expanded their contact base, engaging with wider stakeholders to gain better and quicker decisions.
  • The overall standard of presentations is much higher with a greater impact and more emphasis on ‘what’s in it’ for the audience.
  • The team now use a structured approach to setting meeting agendas and managing meetings.
  • Improved skills in negotiating and setting expectations has enabled them to dig deeper, find win-win outcomes and develop better, more mutual, working relationships.


“Having a proper methodology mapped to our specific business and industry allowed us for the first time to really train and objectively benchmark our sales team. We quickly promoted five team members to Key Account Managers because of the skills they learnt and demonstrated”. Ian Boyle, UK Sales Director.